Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Australian government gives nod for supply of uranium to India

December 4, 2015

After eight years of intense negotiations, bureaucratic hurdles and a shifting nuclear policy, the Australian government has finally given the green signal to the export of uranium to India “which can begin immediately”.

The Australia-India Nuclear Cooperation Agreement permits Australian companies to commence commercial uranium exports to India, an important milestone in Australia’s relationship with India, Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said in a media release.
While previous Liberal prime minister Tony Abbott was quite gung-ho about the supply of uranium to India, current incumbent Malcolm Turnbull would get the credit for sealing the deal to export uranium to the power-hungry south Asian country.

“The supply of Australian uranium will help India meet its rapidly growing electricity demand and improve the welfare of its people,” said Bishop in the media release. “The administrative arrangements have been signed and uranium exports can begin immediately.”

Many observers of the bilateral ties would agree with foreign minister’s assertion that the export of uranium to India is a milestone in the bilateral relations.

It was Liberal prime minister John Howard who first agreed to sell uranium to India in 2007 in spite of the refusal by New Delhi to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) which has been a pre-requisite to receive Australian uranium. It is believed that Australian PM was persuaded by the US to sell uranium to India soon after finalisation of the US-India Civil Nuclear Agreement in July that year.

His successor, Kevin Rudd of Labour reinstated the ban on export of uranium to India as it had not signed the NPT, but next Prime Minister Julia Gillard, who deposed Rudd in a bloodless party coup, made a historic shift in her party’s policy by agreeing to export uranium to a non-NPT signatory in 2012.

Much more pragmatic than her predecessor, she admitted that a refusal to sell uranium to India had been an “obstacle” to getting a larger slice of the benefits of the booming Indian economy.

Australia is also keen in exporting coal to India to run her conventional power stations. But it was the nod to the uranium deal which was being awaited anxiously by New Delhi watchers in Australia.

Besides India, Australia has also finalized a Nuclear Cooperation Agreement with the United Arab Emirates.

Source: Times of India

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India cracks set-top box encryption tech

December 4, 2015

India’s first home-grown conditional access system (CAS) for set-top boxes, that allows television broadcasters to offer programmes on subscription basis has been jointly built by ByDesign, a Bengaluru-based software firm, and Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC).

The indigenous platform used in cable set-top boxes will bring down the cost of such boxes for manufacturers by as much as Rs 100 for each device. Globally, there are around four to five providers for CAS who charge royalty of $ 2 (Rs 130) per device from manufacturers.

“The normal cost for CAS is about 2-3 dollars per licence. They will make available at half a dollar to domestic manufacturer, so there will be a saving of one and a half to two dollars in the CAS for Indian manufacturers,” said Ajay Kumar, additional secretary at the department of electronics and information technology (DietY).

has mandated to license the technology to Indian manufacturers for a royalty of $0.5 (Rs 33) for a period of three years.

The CAS essentially encrypts information at the broadcasters-end and then decrypts it at the user-end, allowing only users with key to view channels. It allows broadcasters either on cable or direct to home providers to offer specific programmes for a fee.

“One of the conditions is that ByDesign has to integrate with five broadcasters and 2.5 lakh homes commercially. So apart from our testing, there will be a market testing, because broadcasters are not going to integrate if they think there is going to be compromise,” added Kumar.

The government of India, under the ambitious ‘Make in India’ campaign, envisions the manufacturing of set-top-boxes in the country to be a $ 10-billion industry by 2020. At present, India imports four of five set-top boxes. Today, the market for set-top boxes in India is worth $ 750 million, with locally manufactured devices contributing between 23-24 per cent of value.

By reducing the cost of CAS, the government hopes Indian manufacturers will be able to  compete better  with importers on price, promoting more to setup local manufacturing units.

“Today, locally we are in a position to only meet 20 per cent of the demand, the rest we’re importing. Developing an indigenous CAS will be a great initiative in terms of filling the gaps in the ecosystem and supply chain. Local production, with the kind of scale the Government is visualising, there will be a significant drop in price (of set-top-boxes),” said MN Vidyashankar, President of the India Electronics and Semiconductor

Source: Business Standard

3rd Nov, 2015: Session on ASEAN-INDIA Integration for Development, New Delhi

November 30, 2015

20th Nov 2015: China Zhejiang-Investment & Trade Symposium 2015, New Delhi

November 30, 2015

Foreign Investments Back In India After Lacklustre Five Years

November 29, 2015

India-specific cumulative fundraising attained its peak in the pre-global financial crisis (GFC) period. During this period between 2005 and 2008, there were 50 such funds that raised USD 16 billion in total. However, post-GFC, only 29 funds got raised in five years, with cumulative fundraising of only USD 3.9 billion.
The cycle started gaining momentum again just before the 2014 general elections on the hopes of a Modi-led government coming to power at the Centre. Around USD 2.2 billion has been raised so far in the current investment cycle. This shows a definite rise in confidence for Indian real estate.

Quantum of domestic investment v/s foreign direct investment
Not only has the volume of investment increased but there has also been an increase in the average ticket size from USD 134 million to USD 184 million. This shows how investors turned positive towards India post-Modi becoming the prime minister. If investment done in USD alone is considered, the average ticket size has gone up from USD 159 billion in 2009-13 to USD 388 billion in the ongoing phase that started in 2014.

Foreign investor interest grows once again
During the pre-GFC phase, 82 per cent of funds got raised in USD. This reduced to 57 per cent in post-GFC phase when the going got tough and micro-market understanding was required more than banking on the macro-economy alone. The contribution, 2014-onwards, has increased considerably to 70 per cent – hinting that the positivity is here to stay for some time.

These changes reflect how foreign investor participation rises when the economy is moving up but when the tide turns, it’s the domestic investors – with familiarity of developments in micro-markets – that increase their focus on investment.

 

Source:- Business World

PM Modi promises more reforms; hopes to rollout GST next year

November 29, 2015

Promising more reforms to make India more attractive for foreign investments, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today assured investors that he would “carefully hold” their hands and expressed hope that the GST regime would be rolled out in 2016.

Speaking at the India Singapore Economic Convention here, Modi said India is exploring a potential partnership with Singapore’s Changi Airport for developments of two Indian airports and invited companies here to join in building smart cities.

“In the last 18 months, the run-ways for the take-off of the economy have been made. Reforms are happening in a big way. They are now reaching to the last mile. Reform is to transform the system so that they perform. They aim at helping people realise their dreams.

 

“It means more charm on the faces and less forms in the offices. Efforts to deepen financial markets have been made,” Modi said.

The Prime Minister said his government began to liberalise FDI laws soon after coming to power last year and the latest round of FDI reforms have made India the “most open economy” in the world.

“We are also conscious of last mile operational issues in such matters and we are fine tuning the norms. Recently, we further eased FDI norms, after which India is the most open economy in terms of FDI,” he added.

While talking about 40 per cent increase in FDI and improvement in rankings like ease of doing business and world competitiveness index, Modi said, “Perceptions are turning into positive outcomes”.

“We are hopeful to roll out GST regime in 2016. The company law tribunal is being set up. FDI inflows have gone up by 40 per cent compared with previous year’s comparative period. Perceptions are turning into positive outcomes. FDI commitments are translating into reality,” he noted.

Modi also outlined 14 decisive steps taken to address regulatory and taxation concerns and said that India offers tremendous opportunities for investments, ranging from affordable housing to smart cities, railways to renewable energy. “I am here to invite you to India in a bigger way. I have also come to assure you that I am there to carefully hold your hands,” Modi said.

“Our commitment to mitigate the dangers of climate change arise from the belief that nature is our mother. We will do more than required,” he added.

About his two-day visit, Modi said, “My visit has been very positive and productive and I had excellent meetings with Singapore leaders. We have concluded a strategic partnership which takes the relationship to a new level.”

“We have set high level of ambitions for this relationship. Our historic ties and cultural proximity are our assets,” he said, while referring to a large Indian diaspora present here.

The Prime Minister said economic partnership has been the key driver of the India-Singapore relationship.

Noting that Singapore is India’s tenth largest trade partner globally and second largest in ASEAN, Modi said the bilateral trade has risen manifold.

“Singapore has emerged as the second largest source of FDI into India. The outward Indian FDI into Singapore has also risen in the recent times. Singapore is one of the top destinations for Indian investments. A significantly large number of companies are registered in Singapore,” he noted.

Modi also referred to the partnership in development of Amaravathi, the new capital of Andhra Pradesh, and the new container terminal at Jawaharlal Nehru Port.

“I expect even more exciting partnership. India has a scope for expansion. Your are fond of going vertical, India’s growth prospects are both vertical and horizontal. India and Singapore can work together in many promising areas,” he said.

“We are also exploring potential partnership with Changi Airport of Singapore for two airport terminals in India.

“I am fully aware of the importance and role Singapore has played in Act East policy. I am looking to working with Singapore in a much bigger way,” he said.

Modi also said that Singapore could join in launch of rupee bonds in foreign countries.

Referring to IMF chief Chrtistine Lagarde’s statement that India was a bright spot in the global economy, Modi said he was here to personally deliver this message.

Emphasising that money must reach the marginalised, Modi said with this objective, 190 million new bank accounts have been opened.

“Through them, we are trying to ensure direct transfer of benefits to the poor. This targeting is also bringing discipline in government expenditure. We have also launched new insurance and pension schemes,” he said.

Listing out various measures taken by his government, the Prime Minister said small traders and businessmen are provided funds through MUDRA bank.

“We have set time bound goals for providing access to housing, water, electricity and sanitation for all. Thus, India is now the next frontier of economic revolution. Our changing paradigm has created new opportunities for global investor community,” he noted.

The Prime Minister said opportunities in India range from building 50 million affordable houses to setting up 100 smart cities, modernisation of railway network and re-development of stations to setting up new railway corridors.

Besides, there are opportunities with respect to generation of 175 GW of renewable energy to transmission and distribution networks as well as in construction of national highways, bridges, and metro rail networks, he added.

“Such a huge potential for creation of infrastructure and production of goods will not be available in any other country. More importantly, no one place on the earth can offer the customer base on such a massive scale,” Modi noted.

Noting that there has been a massive growth in the number of start-ups in the recent past, Modi said some of them have begun to challenge established global players.

To tap this energy fully, the government has recently launched the Start up India Campaign. “We are trying to harness this development potential through our policies and people. The campaigns like Digital India and Skill India are designed to prepare the people to take part in this process,” he added.

Modi said there were a number of regulatory and taxation issues which were adversely impacting on investor sentiments. “We have taken very decisive steps to remove many of long the pending concerns.”

He added: “For example, we have expedited clearance. We have greatly liberalised licensing regime. We have taken almost 60 per cent of defence items out of the licensing process.

We have clearly articulated that we will not resort to retrospective taxation and we have demonstrated this in a number of ways.

“We have introduced composite caps. We have rationalised the capital gains tax for REITs (Real Estate Investment Trusts). We have modified permanent established norms and we have also decided to defer the GAAR by two years.”

Modi said India has consistently been ranked as the most attractive investment destination by several agencies and institutions.

“India has also jumped 16 places on WEF’s global competitive index. Moody’s has upgraded India’s rating outlook to positive,” he said, quipping “Moody’s not Modi”.

Just in 18 months, the government has successfully restored India’s credibility in the eyes of global players, Modi said adding that soon after assuming power, FDI laws were liberalised.

“We are launching rupee bonds in some countries and Singapore could be one of them. We are quite eager to work with Singapore on this,” the Prime Minister said.

According to the Prime Minister, the immediate challenge is to productively employ the youth and in this regard, there is a need to provide a huge boost to manufacturing.

“We must increase manufacturing share from 16 per cent to 25 per cent in the short to medium term. We are creating global skill pool. To achieve these objectives, apart from vigorous efforts to improve ease of doing business, we are giving a big push to infrastructure investment,” he said.

“We are focusing on good governance, which is participatory and policy driven. I hope to further dedicate the next three months even the remotest issues affecting the free flow of capital,” Modi noted.

Stating that climate is a major issue, the Prime Minister said, “We must nurture the Nature. I affirm the global community that we will do more than what is required”.

Singapore’s Minister for Trade and Industry S Iswaran, while giving the welcome address, lauded the economic cooperation between the two countries.

After his address at Economic Convention, Modi also met representatives of Corporate Singapore.

 

Source:- Zee News

Govt clears project to skill 5 mn Indians with WB support

November 29, 2015

The government has approved a project entailing World Bank assistance worth USD 1 billion to provide skill training to over 5 million people.

Skill Training for Employability Leveraging Public Private Partnership (STEPPP) project was cleared by the Department of Economic Affairs, the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE)said in a release today.

“The project will see a World Bank assistance of USD 1 billion and is expected to provide skill training to over 5 million people in addition to strengthening the skill training infrastructure in underserved geographies and sectors”, the release said.

Welcoming the partnership with the World Bank, Union Minister for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship highlighted the importance for an integrated approach towards Skill India.

“The target for skill development in is huge and requires a partnered effort by the centre, states, industry, PSUs, and trainers. The association with the World Bank is of strategic importance to achieve the Prime Minister’s vision to make India the skill capital of the world”, said Rudy.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had launched the National Skill Development Mission (NSDM) on July 15 this year.

The skill training project aims to implement the mandate of the NSDM through its core sub-missions, among other objectives. The STEPPP project will be implemented in mission mode through World Bank support and is aligned with the overall objectives of the NSDM.

 

Source:- Business Standard

India’s growth will benefit from recent policy reforms: IMF

November 29, 2015

Stating that India’s growth will benefit from recent policy reforms, a consequent pickup in investment, and lower commodity prices, the IMF projected a 7.5 per cent growth rate for India in 2016, against China’s 6.3 per cent. However for the current 2015 year, the IMF has projected 7.3 percent growth rate, which is 0.2 per cent less than its projection made for the year in July.

In emerging economies, growth will decline for the fifth year in a row in 2015, before strengthening next year, the IMF said in its report ‘G-20: Global prospects and challenges’ issued ahead of the G-20 Summit in Antalya, Turkey next week.

“Growth in China is expected to decline as excesses in real estate, credit, and investment continue to unwind. India’s growth will benefit from recent policy reforms, a consequent pickup in investment, and lower commodity prices,” the report said. In Brazil, weak business and consumer confidence amid difficult political conditions and a needed tightening in the macroeconomic policy stance are expected to weaken domestic demand, with investment declining particularly rapidly.

In Russia, economic distress reflects the interaction of falling oil prices and international sanctions with preexisting structural weaknesses. Emerging-economy growth is projected to rebound in 2016, reflecting mostly a less deep recession or an improvement of conditions in countries in economic distress (eg. – Brazil, Russia, and some countries in Latin America and the Middle East), the report said.

“Strong domestic demand in India should also be a positive factor in 2016,” IMF said. “However, if the world economy’s transitions are not successfully navigated, global growth could be derailed,” it warned. Prominent risks include: negative spillovers from China’s growth transition; further falls in commodity prices; adverse corporate balance-sheet effects and funding challenges related to dollar appreciation and tighter global financing conditions; and capital flow reversals.

Any of these could substantially weaken the recovery, particularly in emerging and developing countries, the report said.

Source: Moneycontrol.com

India 5th on doing biz in clean energy

November 29, 2015

Considering India’s notable in thesector, has ranked the country at fifth place on a list of 30 countries on in the renewable energy space. The ranking done by Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s annual report indicates that clean energy’s centre of gravity is shifting from developed to developing countries. The report ranked China in the first place, followed by Chile, Brazil, South Africa and India.

The report said: “The new policy ambitions from the (Narendra) Modi government signal clean energy opportunities in the country.” The strongest parameter in favour of India was value chain, while lower-than-expected investment continues to be the weak link.

As became more cost-competitive in emerging markets in 2014, there would be a surge of investment and capacity-building in the Asian countries, especially China and India, the report noted. Last year, India added 5 gigawatt (Gw) of clean energy generation capacity.

 

 

CLEAN BREAK IN RENEWABLE SPACE
  • $343.2 billion Total clean energy investments (2009-14) in China
  • $52.5 billion Total clean energy investments (2009-14) in India
  • 262.5 Gw Installed power capacity
  • 38,360 Mw Total renewable energy capacity
  • 5,009 Mw Renewable capacity added in 2014
  • 14.6% Renewable share in total installed capacity

Top Indian states: Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan & Gujarat

“Major reforms in India brought by the Modi administration bring hope of quicker deployment for the country’s eager renewable energy developers,” said Climatescope.

Among the states, Tamil Nadu led the pack with the highest wind energy capacity, followed by Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Gujarat.

Madhya Pradesh scored the highest among Indian states on growth rate of clean energy investments. The state’s favourable land policy and easy clearances have resulted in attracting projects. Gujarat, which was once a haven of clean energy investments, slipped from the top slot due to policy uncertainty and litigation over tariff.

Maharashtra’s high feed-in tariff led to a surge in wind capacity.

The report noted: “Maharashtra has done relatively little to encourage private investment in solar; it has held no tenders for power contracts and offers no feed-in tariffs.”

Renewable energy in Rajasthan at 4 Gw represents a high share (32 per cent) of total power capacity of 13 Gw, compared to other states. “The overall renewable energy capacity grew 14 per cent in 2014 in the state, but it has done little policy-wise to encourage solar development through incentives and the state’s distribution utilities are among the financially shakiest in India,” said the report.

At 7.4 Gw, Tamil Nadu has more wind installed than any other state. Since 2012, however, annual new-build rates have fallen and in 2014, only 208 megawatt was commissioned. This is largely due to the poor financial health of state-owned distribution utility companies and occasional payment delays to power project owners.

The Indian government’s goal of providing round-the-clock power to 1.25 billion citizens has triggered huge interest from investors. The report noted that a strong energy minister overseeing coal, power, and new and renewable energy sectors could have a positive influence.

The Modi-led government has revised the targets for renewable energy to 175 Gw by 2022.

Source: Business Standard

British insurers to invest 238 million pounds in Indian joint ventures

November 21, 2015

British Prime Minister David Cameron welcomed India’s decision to increase FDI limits in the insurance sector to 49 per cent and said it would result in British insurers investing around approximately 238 million pounds in their Indian joint ventures.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his British counterpart Cameron met here to discuss a host of issues.

Noting that the Indian government recently permitted foreign direct investment (FDI) upto 49 percent in the insurance sector, Cameron noted that several British insurers have announced a number of agreements to increase their investments in their joint ventures in India.

“These agreements would amount to approximately 238 million pounds of Foreign Direct Investment in the first instance subject to regulatory approvals,” a joint statement issued at the end of the meeting said.

“This will support the ongoing development of the Indian insurance and reinsurance sectors, which are key elements in promoting sustainable economic growth,” the statement added.

The passing of the insurance bill paved the way for Lloyd’s of London to establish their presence in India and provide local access to Lloyd’s specialist reinsurance services in India.

Life, non-life and health insurers of Britain have their joint ventures in India.

Once the regulatory approvals are given UK based Standard Life, Bupa and Aviva would invest a combined 238 million pounds FDI in their Indian joint ventures.

In addition Prudential and Legal & General, and insurance brokers, Howden, Willis and JLT, continue to grow their operations in India.

Indian insurance regulator is in the process of coming out with regulations to give effect to the legal provisions enabling hike in FDI cap to 49 per cent from the earlier 26 percent limits.

The two prime ministers welcomed HSBC’s “Skills for life” initiative in India, a 10 million pound programme to skill 75,000 disadvantaged young people and children over 5 years.

Source: Economic Times